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Pelham, Earls of Yarborough

Charles Alfred Worsley Pelham, 4th Earl of Yarborough as a Russian Courtier, by Lafayette

Origins of the Pelham Family


The Pelhams first rose to prominence in the Middle Ages when Sir John Pelham fought alongside Edward III during the Hundred Years War.

During the reign of Queen Elizabeth I, Field Marshall Sir William Pelham of Brocklesby in Lincolnshire emerged as one of the most eminent military commanders in England. In 1579, following the sudden death of Sir William Drury, he was appointed provisional Lord Deputy of Ireland. His wife Lady Eleanor Neville was a daughter of Henry Neville, the Earl of Westmoreland, who led the Revolt of the Northern Earls in 1569.

Subsequent generations of Pelhams continued to live at Brocklesby and advanced up the social ladder in step with Britain’s advance to imperial glory.


The Creation of Pelham-Anderson


When the future of the Pelham surname was threatened by the death of the last male heir without issue, the lands and title passed to a nephew, Charles Anderson (1749-1823), on condition he assume the surname and arms of Pelham in addition to those of Anderson.

This was by no means a rare situation. Indeed, a similar situation arose following the death without male issue of Thomas Bunbury, MP, of Lisnavagh in 1846. In order to inherit the estate at Lisnavagh, Thomas’s nephew, William McClintock, was obliged to assume the surname and arms of Bunbury in addition to those of McClintock. Hence, the family of McClintock Bunbury.

In 1794 Charles was raised to the peerage as 1st Baron Yarborough of Yarborough, Lincolnshire. His wife, Sophie, was the sole heiress of a wealthy London merchant called George Aufrere.


Charles Pelham-Anderson, 1st Earl of Yarborough


The Baron’s eldest son, Charles Pelham-Anderson (1781-1846), distinguished himself in Parliament and, in 1837, was simultaneously created Baron Worsley of Appuldercombe, Isle of Wight, and 1st Earl of Yarborough.


Charles Anderson Pelham, 3rd Earl of Yarborough


The 1st Earl’s grandson, another Charles Anderson Pelham (1835-1875) married Lady Victoria Hare, daughter of the Earl of Listowel. The marriage took place on 3 August 1858, the same month that the British crown assumed control of India. There were four sons – Charles (Lord Worsley), Victor, Henry and Dudley – and a daughter, Lady Gertrude.

The 3rd Earl of Yarborough and Lady Victoria Hare were Marjorie Dacres Dixon‘s grandparents.


Charles Alfred Worsley, 4th Earl of Yarborough


4th Earl of Yarborough.

Charles Alfred Worsley (1859-1936), eldest son of the 3rd Earl, succeeded as 4th Earl of Yarborough in 1875 at the age of 16. He was Lord Lieutenant and Vice Admiral for Lincolnshire and County Alderman for the Lindsey Division. He was also an Honorary Colonel of the 3rd Battalion of the Lincolnshire Regiment.

On 5 August 1886 he married the highly prized 23 year old Marcia Amelia Lane-Fox, Baroness Fauconberg & Conyers. She was the eldest co-heir of the two great generals, the Duke of Schomberg and the Duke of Marlborough. As such she succeeded in her own right as 13th Baroness Conyers (cr. 1509) and, in 1903, to the Barony of Fauconberg (created by Edward I in 1295). She was awarded the OBE in 1920, was an LJStJ and died on 17th November 1926.

The 4th Earl survived her by a decade and died on 12 July 1936.

Their eldest son, Charles Sackville Pelham, Lord Worsley, was killed in action at Ypres in October 1914. The title thus passed to his younger brother Sackville.


Sackville George, 5th Earl of Yarborough


Sackville George Pelham was educated at Eton and Trinity College Cambridge before joining the Sherwood Rangers (formerly 11th Hussars) during World War One (in which he won an MC).

On 23 September 1919, he married Nancy Brocklehurst, niece of the enigmatically entitled Baron Ranksborough. She died in 1977. They had no children and, on the 5th Earl’s death in 1948, he was succeeded by his younger brother, Marcus, 6th Earl of Yarborough.

Victor Pelham


The Hon. Victor Pelham (1866-1927), second son of the 3rd Earl of Yarborough, married Gertrude, daughter of Charles Gordon Adams but had no children. Dudley Roger Hugh Pelham (1872 – 1953) served in both the Boer War and World War One, winning the DSO in the latter campaign. On 9th February 1907 Dudley married Evelyn Waldo-Sibthorp; there were no children.


Lady Gertrude Astley-Corbett

Lady Gertrude Pelham (1861-1920), only daughter of the 3rd Earl of Yarborough, married Sir Francis Astley-Corbett (d. 1939), 4th Bt, of Elsham Hall, Lincs.